An introduction to the New Zealand Food Network
In October 2019, a staggering half a million Kiwis were living without reliable, daily access to affordable and nutritious food. As the impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold, this figure is expected to skyrocket to nearly 1 million.
Throughout Aotearoa, there are hundreds of food hubs (food rescue organisations, iwi and charities) working overtime to address this growing need, supported by generous food producers wishing to donate bulk surplus food and make a positive difference in our most vulnerable communities.
The New Zealand Food Network (NZFN) was established in 2020 to address Aotearoa’s growing problem of food insecurity - bridging the gap between food supply and demand to provide people in need with healthy food, through sharing bulk surplus and donated food.
How it works
The NZFN collects quality surplus and donated bulk food from food producers, growers and wholesalers around the country. It’s then distributed in manageable quantities to food hubs nationwide, so that they can continue feeding the recipient agencies they serve.
Its mission is to help combat the logistical and infrastructure issues that have traditionally limited supply into food insecure communities, and get food to where it’s needed most.
For food hubs, these issues include a lack of on-site storage to handle direct bulk food donations, and difficulties coordinating pick-ups of bulk food so they often have to turn food away despite the imminent demand.
For food businesses, donating to multiple organisations can be costly and time consuming to coordinate. They may also have concerns around food quality or safety, making waste the simplest option.
The NZFN is a solution to these challenges. It is effectively transforming the food rescue supply chain, creating efficiencies, structure and scale that addresses the growing issues of food insecurity and food waste.
It provides a single point of contact for food businesses to donate surplus or bulk food, without compromising quality, enabling them to make a significant difference to communities in need across New Zealand.
For food hubs, it provides a simple system to request and receive food (free of charge), in manageable quantities, so they can provide more balanced food parcels to their communities and extend their current reach.
Since its short establishment, the NZFN has rescued and redistributed the equivalent of over 7.6 million meals to food hubs across the country. But with the increasing demand for food support and tonnes of nutritious food still going to waste, it needs your support.
Here are some ways you can help:
- If you’re a food business or producer, redistribute any bulk surplus, or directly donate food to the NZFN and support communities in need. Alternatively, if anyone in your network has bulk surplus, please encourage them to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 0800 366 369 or visiting their website for more info.
- Make a monetary donation (every bit counts!) that will go towards the purchase of additional food for food hubs.
- Follow the NZFN on Facebook and LinkedIn and share the important work they are doing in collaboration with food donors and food hubs.
- Raising awareness about the issues of food waste and food insecurity can also have a massive impact and encourage action.